Man blames police standoff on diabetes

FORT PIERCE, Fla., Feb. 29 (UPI) -- A man who engaged in a 4-hour standoff with police in Florida this week blamed his behavior on his diabetes, authorities say. reported Tuesday Michael James Conley, 64, threatened he had the deadly poison ricin and C4 explosives Monday when police tried to get him to come out of his room at an America's Best Value Inn in Fort Pierce.


The incident prompted authorities to evacuate about 100 people from the motel. At 7:45 p.m. Monday, Conley and his son surrendered to police. No ricin or explosives were found in the motel room.

Conley said during an interview at the St. Lucie County Jail Tuesday he calmed down after his son cooked him some oatmeal, helping restore his blood sugar.

"I apologize to the public. I was disoriented," Conley said.

"It [the alleged ricin] was just salt," Conley said of the contents of a container he had waved at police.

Police had gone to Conley's room to inquire about a stolen car in the parking lot. Police said he got angry, started yelling and blocked the door with a television set.

He remained jailed in lieu of $115,000 bond and faces charges of possession of a hoax weapon of mass destruction, resisting an officer without violence, conspiring to deal in stolen property and contempt of court.


Conley's son, Michael Harootian-Hughes, 28, who was in the motel room with him, also has been charged with a weapons hoax count and was jailed in lieu of $20,000 bail. said Conley was convicted in 1990 of killing a Canadian tourist in a Fort Lauderdale motel room. His conviction was thrown out two years later because of errors made by the prosecution, records show.

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